Heather Stewart, Creative Director of the BFI said, “Film can bring love to life more powerfully than any other art form – it is cinema’s most seductive illusion and has transformed the way we see ourselves, and our love lives. Our season is not about sex. We’re getting back to LOVE: embracing the intimacy of the close-up and the anticipation of the much longed-for screen kiss: the very language of cinema itself.”
With this aim, Stewart has ensured that LOVE will cover three key themes: “The Power of Love,” “Fools For Love” and “Fatal Attractions/” Screenings will be followed by Q&As with directors Stephen Frears, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Mike Newell and Gurinder Chadha, actors Derek Jacobi, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Adrian Lester, John Gordon Sinclair and Claire Grogan, along with musician KT Tunstall.
With a season that spans multiple weeks, LOVE will offer viewers 600 bespoke film screenings and experiences at over 300 locations across the UK, which include anniversary screenings of “Brief Encounter” and “Wings of Desire” at Paisley Abbey, pop-up screenings of films including “Vertigo” in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and family favorites including “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Princess Bride” and “Frozen” at the romantic locations of Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle, Wales.
The season of love-fueled films and conversations will also feature “Jane Austen Day” on November 21. Audiences will be encouraged to dress in gear from the 90s or regency regalia, with screenings of “Clueless” and “Sense and Sensibility.” An extravaganza will also take place on November 7 to pay homage to the twenieth anniversary of Bollywood equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.” The film was a cultural phenomenon, as it held the world record for continuous cinema exhibition, at over 1,000 weeks at the Maratha Mandir cinema, Mumbai. There will also be a nationwide search for the “real Raj and Simran” in partnership with Bollywood TV station B4U.
Even though the season is all about the emotion of love, BFI is hosting several panels that aim to dissect these passionate films from an analytical perspective. “More Than a Feeling: How Your Brain Responds to Romance at the Movies” will bring together scientists working in cutting-edge neuroscience and psychological research with filmmakers, to conduct live audience experiments to examine how romantic scenes in films affect us on November 14. In addition, on October 26, “The Feminist’s Guide to Love on Screen” will discuss love, romance and sex as feminist issues, with filmmakers Desiree Akhavan and Campbell X, film theorist Laura Mulvey, critic Sophie Mayer and the BFI’s Jane Giles.
Feeling the love for even the television industry, the BFI will also feature a panel covering “Love & Disability: Shifting Perceptions on TV,” which will be led by writer Jack Thorne and actor Victoria Wright. A talk on November 24 called “Race and Romance on TV” will also discuss the cultural understanding and implications of love on the small screen with the help of director Gurinder Chadha and actor Adrian Lester.
LOVE is even permeating onto the big screens of London’s most visited cinemas. David Lean’s Oscar-winning “Doctor Zhivago” will show on November 27 across the UK in a new 4K digital restoration in celebration of the film’s fiftieth anniversary. And in case you wanted to see love on Europe’s biggest screen, the BFI’s got that covered too. There will be screenings at the BFI IMAX, including “A Matter of Life and Death Cleopatra,” “Titanic” and “Gone With the Wind.”READ MORE: ‘5 Things You Might Not Know About ‘The Princess Bride’ On Its 25th Anniversary’